Penn State Removes Joe Paterno Statue

Penn State University’s president announced on Sunday morning that the iconic status of long-time football coach Joe Paterno would be removed in the wake of the publication of the Freeh report. As Ben Jones, who writes for, tweeted, crews arrived at Beaver Stadium around 8:00 am, wrapped the status with its upraised finger in padding, got to work with jackhammers and, in the presence of about 20 people, removed it. Workers also removed the letters spelling out Paterno’s name.

The reportconducted by former FBI director Louis Freeh, found that Paterno, former university president Graham Spanier and other Penn State officials had shown “total disregard” to protect children from abuse by Jerry Sandusky, an assistant defense coach for 31 years. Among much else, the report revealed that, back in May of 1998, Paterno was told that an 11-year-old boy had been groped by Sandusky in the athletic facilities of Penn State University, but did not report the abuse to authorities.

CBS News reports that, on Monday morning at 9:00 am, the NCAA will announced “unprecedented” penalties against both Penn State University and its football team. In a later statement, the NCAA said that “corrective and punitive measures” would be levied against Penn State. According to ESPN’s Joe Schad, the NCAA will not be closing down Penn State’s vaunted Nittany Lions football program, but the team could face the loss of bowl games and scholarships.

However, as Ellen Staurowsky, a sports management professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, pointed out, the NCAA is not really the “appropriate organization to issue punishment” to Penn State, given that the NCAA derives millions of dollars in revenue from from television and marketing-rights fees from universities.

Writing last week about whether it was right to remove Paterno’s status “as though he were Saddam Hussein”, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd had suggested leaving it up, but also putting up “another darkly alluring statue behind Paterno, whispering in his ear: Mephistopheles,” the devil character in Goethe’s play, “Faust”:

Paterno is the tragic figure in the case, the man who went to church and taught his players “success with honor,” but succumbed to supporting depravity. His name was derived from the Latin word for father, and JoePa was the beloved paterfamilias of Happy Valley. So how did he crack his moral compass?

It’s the story of “Faust,” a morality play that unspools daily in politics, banking, sports and the Catholic Church.

Dowd cites a 1987 interview by Thomas Ferraro of United Press International in which he noted that most people idolized Paterno as “the saint in black cleats of the often seamy world of college sports.” Paterno had replied “It scares the heck out of me. Because I know I’m not that clean. Nobody is that clean.”

As the Freeh report makes too clear, Paterno was something far from a saint in cleats of any sort. Paterno, the report reveals, persuaded Penn State authorities including former president Spanier not to report Sandusky to the police and state authorities; “eager to protect their brand and cash cow,” they simply advised Sandusky not to bring children to the Penn State campus. Says Dowd: “As far as the noble coach was concerned, Sandusky could simply switch the venue of his child rapes.” The university paterfamilias got his way, and at a terrible price to his descendants, his community, his legacy.

The statue is gone. Paterno’s name remains on Penn State’s library, on  professors’ endowed chairs and in countless venues. Is the symbolic gesture of removing a statue really enough?

Previous Care2 Coverage

Should Penn State Shut Down Its Football Program?

Do “Nice Guys” Contribute to Rape Culture?

Paterno, Penn State Had “Total Disregard” For Sandusky’s Victims

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik


Diana S.
Diana S5 years ago

continued -
...the WHISTLE-BLOWERS would have all spent their next twenty or thirty years in very expensive court battles when that bastard pervert SUED them all for "defamation of character" or some other bull***t rationalization!

Don't blame Penn State, or Paterno, BLAME THE SYSTEM that lets the guilty WIN!!!

Diana S.
Diana S5 years ago

Let's just blame everybody EXCEPT the REAL villains in this perverted mess, shall we?!?!? If it weren't for our method of handling crime and perpetrators in the US, this "myth" about "innocent until proven guilty" and the SHYSTER LAWYERS who will jump at the chance to sue ANYbody for ANY reason, we wouldn't have witnesses who will continue to IGNORE what they see, who will REFUSE to come forward and testify against rapists, molesters, murderers, gang-bangers, and the rest of human SCUM for fear that, somehow, they will NOT be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and rightfully CONVICTED of their crimes.

The news media doesn't have the BALLS to call criminals PERPETRATORS, instead, they wuss out with "ALLEGED rapist/pervert/murderer/burglar/etc;" our cops are hounded by bleeding-heart liberal organizations like the ACLU for blowing away criminals caught in the act who point guns at the cops (and kill a substantial number of them in the process), injure and kill innocent bystanders, who are demonized by the media for saving the taxpayers millions that would be otherwise wasted in appeals after appeals, instead of praising them for their service to the innocent, law-abiding public!!!

Had Penn State, or any of the innocent individuals involved spoken out instead of covering their own butts AND financial solvency, the chances are that, instead of a quick and just conviction of the perpetrator Sandusky, the WHISTLE-BLOWERS would have all spent their next twenty or thirty

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch5 years ago

Well, about time!

Luis L.
Luis L5 years ago

Penn State players, staff, administration and alumni should suck it up and take what they have coming. Many schools have face sanctions squarely and are now back on track. They can survive this. Suit up and show up, play hard and fair and put this behind you.

Eliezer M.
Eli Moreta-Feliz5 years ago

I understand the outrage based on the disregard of children. That is unacceptable and Penn State's administrators shouldn't have kept the information for so long.

However, if you're going to base your arguments based on the report, please actually do so. Don't outright lie about what the report said just to get more support from your audience. Lying doesn't actually help anybody. All it does is continues this vicious cycle of misguided outrage at the school instead of switching the narrative to how we can help.

To you, Ms. Kristina, and to all of you who have commented so far, I strongly implore you to look at this, and find a way to help the victims. That's really what matters

Eliezer M.
Eli Moreta-Feliz5 years ago


There are a few things in your article I need to address, given that you've quoted the report as your source:

1) Nowhere in the report does it state that Paterno didn't report the 1998 incident. In fact, there was nothing to report, given that it was the DA and GA at the time who decided not to press charges. Paterno (and the others) was notified after they had already conducted an investigation.

2) As Steve G. Noted, Paterno did not persuade anybody to take any action. The report makes no mention of it. None whatsoever.

3) There were four main culprits, if you include Paterno, in this process. Why did you only include one in your article?

4) Lastly, there was plenty of opportunity to catch Saudusky outside of the Penn State administration, but we're only focusing on one entity. This is dangerous, as it isolates the issue to Penn State, denies that it was happening elsewhere just with sandusky, and denies that this could happen anywhere, even right under your nose, Ms. Kristina.

I understand the outrage based on the disregard of children. That is unacceptable and Penn State's administrators shouldn't have kept the information for so long.

However, if you're going to base your arguments based on the report, please actually do so. Don't outright lie about w

Barbara Snowberger

The fall-out is severe, and while the kids on the field now weren't part of the cover-up, at least they can transfer if they so choose. Joe Paterno could have made ONE CALL... and none of this fall-out would be happening now. But he didn't. He was guilty by proxy, and Penn State needs to pay the price for being more concerned about their football programs than they were about under-privileged children who have been being abused for many years.

Jennie R.
Jennie D5 years ago

Very sad, but the heavy penalties will send a strong message to all sports teams everywhere and maybe the atmospheres surrounding sports will be better for young people.

Carl Oerke
Carl O5 years ago

I saw a photograph in today's newspaper of workmen wrapping a blue tarp around the area where the statute stood before taking it down. It is a tragic end to a prominent career and very sad to see. It must be very disturbing to Paterno family members, students and alumni. On the other hand to try and conceal the sexual abuse of children to protect a colleague or the football legacy of Penn State is unconscionable.

Dominic C.
Dominic C5 years ago

There is no stigma at all... The stigma here is politicking the obvious.You have to be in the college football arena to know what's going on. I am an avid college football fan and I have read blogs on many of the sports sites and you can see the level of attack at the B1G 10 when Nebraska bolted from Big 12 and create a pretty much disintegrated Big 12. And when Nebraska bolted, yes both Texas A&M and Missouri also left to the SEC. Last year the Big 12 almost collapsed when many members were unhappy. There were talk that Texas and Oklahoma wanted to leave for the then Pac 10. You see I do not see this as a conincidence at all. Big 12 however felt that B1G 10 was the cause of this in college alignment in the first place. I felt giddy and ecstatic when a big school like Nebraska joined the B1G 10 but then Big 12 suffer a consequence because of the distrust. And those guys who run the conferences well, its always about the MONEY! Sports nowadays is big money, look at the Beijing Olympics and the upcoming London Games. If one is a sportsman or sportswoman, your life is pretty much assured.